How to Save $142+ in New Baby Gear

After having my second baby, I started going through my baby gear again and realized just how much STUFF I had. Some of it I knew I’d use again, but others, I couldn’t help but realize what a waste it had been. I knew I could have saved a LOT of money had I not registered for or purchased myself some of the gear that was taking up so much space in my closets.

Whenever first time parents to be ask me for advice on what they should register for – I tend to give them a list of things they SHOULDN’T register for instead. I think that is just as helpful so they can save money, and even more importantly SPACE, by skipping these unnecessary things.

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Here are 5 things – worth $142.00+ – that you do NOT need for your new baby:

1) Tummy Time Mat – $19.99

Tummy Time Mat

This thing is such a joke. It is essentially a blanket, with a tiny pillow attached and a fake flimsy mirror, so your wee-one can do tummy time. How about this – lay any regular blanket on the floor (you’re going to get a million of them as baby gifts), roll up a swaddle blanket to put under baby’s arms to prop them up, and forget about the mirror (or use a cheap baby floor mirror) and viola! You have your very own tummy time mat and an extra $20 in your pocket!

2) Bumbo Seat with Tray  – $39.99 for seat, $11.99 for tray

Bumbo and tray

You might feel tempted to register for the Bumbo seat and tray. Resist the urge, I assure you this – YOU DO NOT NEED IT. Not only are there studies out there that tell you not to use it, but it is completely unnecessary and just takes up a lot of space. You will have a highchair, you will probably have a bouncer and/or swing. There will be plenty of ways to prop your baby up so he or she isn’t constantly just laying on the floor. I repeat: you don’t need this.

3) Boppy Newborn Lounger – $29.99

Boppy lounger

See above. This is another floor seat you might think you need. I did. Folks, I hate to break it to you, but this is just a pillow.  It only slightly elevates them off the floor. I, too, was sold on the cute print and convenient handle. But I think I only used it a handful of times, and each time thought to myself, why couldn’t I just put him on a pillow?

4) Bottle Warmer – $24.99

Bottle warmer

Maybe I’m just an idiot, but I had a bottle warmer similar to this one and I never did figure out how to make it work. I read the instructions front to back, followed them to a T, but I swear my bottles never seemed any warmer and I always just ended up burning myself on the steam. My advice – leave your milk out for a little bit before you plan to feed baby to naturally get the milk to room temperature. Don’t waste your money here.

5) Infant Shoes, Tutus, Jeans, Etc. – $14.49+

Shoes

I hear you – shoes that are smaller than my index finger are pretty much the cutest thing ever. With a puppy on them? Even cuter. But do you know how freaking hard they are to get on a squirmy baby’s feet? And that babies don’t actually keep them on their feet? A little girl with a tutu on or a little boy in a pair of jeans and suspenders and a bow tie? I KNOW – ridiculously cute. But don’t buy them. I assure you that you’ll get AT LEAST ONE cute and unpractical outfit from a grandma or cousin or friend that will be perfect for some newborn pictures. But that is the one and only time they will ever wear that outfit. The rest of the time, they’re just wearing onesies and sleepers because they’re easy and because they can be more disposable when the outfit happens to be the casualty of a blow out situation.

What other baby items did you realize after the fact that you didn’t need? Am I missing the boat with any on my list above?

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My Favorite Money Saver – NaBloPoMo Day 5

A couple years ago I heard about the website Ebates. I can’t remember how I first heard about it, but I think I signed up because I got a free $10 Target gift card for entering my email address {which is still available when you register}. I’m a sucker for stuff like that. Regardless, I’ve been using it for 2 years now and have gotten back over $100….just from shopping online, buying stuff I’d normally buy. Christmas season is the best time to use Ebates, as you can find what you need for gifts, and still get $$$ back. It also gives you access to tons of coupon codes that you can use at check out to save money, and you get emails about sales happening at your favorite stores, and specials offering double {and even sometimes triple!} cash back. I’ve used it on tons of websites from Loft to Wal-Mart, car rentals and hotels.

Here’s how it works. You visit www.ebates.com and register your new account. {No, you don’t give them your credit card number or anything like that}. From the site, you can search by categories, store name, or even by the % of cash back you can get. {The top cash back offer right now on the site is for Proactiv, which is 30% cash back. So if you spend $30 on the Proactiv site, you’re going to get $9 back.} Once you choose a store, you can sort through any coupon codes they have, and then click to go directly to the site. From here, it takes you to the site as normal, and you can shop till you drop. After you place your order with the store, you receive an email from Ebates telling you how much cash you’re getting back from them. It banks your money and then they send you a check every 3 months. Free money!! Doesn’t get much better than that! If you choose, you can also get emails in your inbox telling you about sales and special offers, and they can be tailored to stores you like to shop at regularly.

I’ve tried websites like MyPoints.com and other rewards sites, but none have been as easy or have made me as much money as Ebates. Just tonight I bought Dory some dog food online, and got 4% cash back. It does take extra time if you REALLY want to save money, as you have to search through different sites to find the best price and the highest amount of cash back. But if I can save a few bucks here and there, it all adds up and I am happy to take the time to seek out the best deal. I definitely would recommend Ebates to anyone who likes getting a check in the mail every few months, just for shopping online!

Let me know–have you used Ebates or another money saving website? What is your favorite?